Thursday, December 24, 2009

Glorious Endings Result In New Beginnings

A first love's flower, a wedding ring, a tattoo, a scar. They exist to remind us of a story that is deeper, more complex. Like props and backdrops to a play, the story becomes a better experience if we have them. We all love symbolism. You could say that that is what this blog is about. It is a symbol. A committment to pursue a dream. This symbol is to remind myself to throw fear aside and to start running after the dream that God has placed in my heart. This isn't to say that I know things are going to work out perfectly. That every song I write becomes a church favourite. Or that my writings will be published in a book in a couple of years.

No, it doesn't work that way. If it was such certainty, it wouldn't be a dream. If you could see it, its not faith. It wouldn't be a dream unless it could be threatened. Unless there was a risk of failure. Too many times, I have been petrified at the thought of chasing what we think God has called us to do. I begin to second guess myself and doubt the calling. Sometimes we try and check with God about the next step and we get anxious because there is no answer. Life isn't about clear cut choices and perfect will. God has always given us choice. It is about involving Jesus in the journey. Lynette reminded me recently that the fulfillment of a dream is not dependent on how many people appreciate or support the idea. Its fulfillment has two hinges. His calling and our faithful obedience.

The sin of Adam & Eve wasn't just that they disobeyed. There is a greater, more fundamental problem. They were not with God. How did they ever get separated from the Omni-present? My conclusion is, if we involve God when we make the decision, He'll be there to either make it succeed, let us learn, or get us out. There are so many times where I've asked God for direction or for the right decision and I got no answer. He tells me its mine to make. For some, they might think that this opinion reduces the sovereignty of God. It takes a real confident God to let us make the decisions. He lets us choose because He is not threatened by us.

"...The devil has them chasing a colourless rainbow. And at the end there is no pot of gold, just a pot of steam. Which he exchanges for their dreams. You see, bonafide slaves are made in the devil's dream trade. Without dreams you are equivalent to being non-existent..."
| The Twin Poets - Dreams Are Illegal In The Ghetto |

One of the traits of chasing your dreams is that your heart must be wide open. Sometimes the devil tries to screw things up with disappointments, hurts and losses. He knows that if he can hit us where we are most vulnerable, we might put up the walls around our hearts and lose perspective. What better for him than an earthful of disillusioned dreamers? When I say glorious endings, don't think of fantastic car crashes with their twisted metal. Don't think of epic breakups just after one decides to offer their heart as a dowry. Don't even think of a loved one leaving to be with Jesus. No. Dreams never die. They are just buried.

We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
| Romans 6:4 |

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known...
| Isaiah 48:6 |

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Livin' On A Prayer

She is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. I would see her when I went to have lunch in the multi-purpose hall. She would see me and look down with her smile on her face. As if shy to show me how glad she was to see me. Her smile is unaffected by the cerebral palsy that ravages her body and hinders her movements. It is a smile that burrows past any walls, as if challenging me with her gentleness. I always stopped to say hello and have a conversation and she was always glad to oblige. Tonight I saw her in hospital and she looked down smiling again. But she struggled to remember my name. I'm glad she didn't forget. She was fighting. Against thoughts of death, against bad memories, against frustration, against fear.

Think about Jesus. Jesus is in you. Jesus loves you!

She would repeat those precious words when I spoke them over her. She adored that name. I was fighting too, almost defeated by tears. There was righteousness to be done and we drenched her with love and encouragement. Her sister asked me whether it was a spiritual, or satanic attack. I quickly answered no and assured her that she was a daughter of God who could not be taken over by the devil. But I do believe that the devil, filthy parasite that he is, would always want more of a person. The issue isn't whether God lets it happen or not. The issue is whether we are defending each other with the Word of God.

She sang bravely. Songs of hope, songs of promise. She sang to Jesus and I believe He took notice. Her eyes held recognition more regularly. She remembered family members when they came to visit and she called them on the mobile phone when they didn't. It struck me how often she was apologising to the people around her. It reminded me of Jesus healing the man with palsy in the Bible. The first thing He said when He saw the man was, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

It makes me wonder if the mind and its conscience, the body and its health are somehow all interconnected. Maybe Jesus understood that forgiveness was synonymous with healing. After all, we don't see Jesus examining that man for signs of depression or the state of his mental health. He probably knew that it was all linked. We all want to be forgiven and we all have a Forgiver.

Daughter, your sins are forgiven. Get up and go home!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

About Daryl

Introduction. We often wonder what gives a man his worth and how his difficulties define him. How is it some men are able to thrive in the harshest of environments and the most unreasonable circumstances? Is he priced by his possessions? His relationships? Perhaps his purpose and convictions? Or maybe we are molded and formed by failure. I have learnt that I am not supposed to spend life just searching for answers and for what is better. I have discovered that when I take inventory of what I have, I find out how blessed I am. But I have also found out that we are all saboteurs. We are all naturally selfish. We become the proverbial leech, always taking from every relationship and draining people, constantly wanting more. Is it a surprise that we have become so dissatisfied?


Twenty-seven. Almost. It seems too soon. I feel that my true age is lagging about 6-7 years behind. It seems like I only just discovered life. I've only just discovered that all the answers I have been searching for lie in the questions of others.


Beloved. I am Daryl. A little wooden keychain, sold in christian bookshops, says that my name means beloved. It was only when I reached adulthood that I realise it to be truth. My identity is found when I know that I am loved. You can imagine how cheesy the scenario was when I chanced upon that keychain. I was rummaging through my desk drawers when I found that silly wooden sales gimmick. It is so strange to have the realisation come from such an uninspiring product. But it is what it is and I am what I am.


Believer. The word Christian was first used in the early church. It was used to describe the followers of the radical teachings of Jesus. I would call myself a Christian if it wasn't for the negative connotations that came with Christianity as the world would know it. Ultimately, I am a follower of Jesus and a believer of the Word. I attend and serve in my local Church.


Worshipper. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
| John 4:23-24 |

I've heard this verse quoted so often and so pointlessly that it seems that we've lost the impact of it. The Greek word translated as 'worship' in this verse is 'proskuneo'. And it means to prostrate, or to revere, or to adore. This brings to mind the scene of Mary at the feet of Jesus, anointing them with perfume. This is adoration, this is worship.

Who are those who worship him? I am.
God is. And I must worship


Musician. I have been involved with music from a very young age. I took up piano in primary school and went for vocal lessons. I stopped music lessons when I was in secondary school but continued learning by listening to alternative rock instead of radio hits. I would listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs I loved and write them down in my notebook. It didn't matter what genre the song was from, rock, indie, hip-hop, or nu-metal. I would study them all like poetry.

I picked up drums just after primary school but insecurity prevented me from really pursuing it. Back in church, I was fourth choice drummer in a worship band called Dunamis. The band had 4 drummers. It wasn't till 4 years later during a Teachers' Day concert in school that I hooked up with my first band and played 'motorcycle drive-by' by Third Eye Blind. I remember my geography teacher coming up to me and gushing like a groupie about how well I played. All I could do was blush and mutter something about the amount of time we spent practicing.

I picked up the guitar sometime after my O' Levels. It started off as my secondary instrument but all that has changed. Maybe because now, I have a song. And when you have a song, it helps to have an instrument that can sing with you. I lead worship and play primarily in my church worship band.

And there is a gift and anointing on your life relative to music. Not just drums. But when you play, the Glory of the Lord can come... ...Go with your musical anointing. There is a strong anointing upon you in this regard. And as you begin to play upon the instruments, the influence of the Holy Spirit now comes and the Glory of God can come.
| Nathaniel Wolfe - Spoken during a prophesy |


Writer. I started writing poetry early in secondary school. I believe it was my cousin Keith who got me interested in poetry. He stayed in our house for a couple of years during his national service. He would constantly have books of poetry by W.B. Yeats or Edgar Allen Poe lying around in his room. Although I understood very little of what was in those books, I loved the effect it had on me. The gentle calm as I whispered those words to myself. I wanted my writing to cause others to feel the same.

I started blogging in January 2003 with the purpose of getting over a bad breakup. But as I continued to write, I found myself learning more about myself. Even today, as I read some of my earlier posts, I am baffled by the changes in writing style over the years. People tell me it is linked to developments in my character. Others say its the books I read. I think Grace just needed a case study.

Jamie Tworkowski caught my attention with words that gave hope to youth with depression and suicidal tendancies. He focused me to re-read Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. Don changed my perspective on life and made me think that there might be a purpose for 7 years worth of words after all. He taught me about the power of conversations and the healing of honesty. I was introduced to Anne Lamott who is basically a mother with a filthy mouth and insights that reveal her teachable spirit. Anne Rice, my favourite vampire author, encountered God and became a believer. She blew me away with her revelations on Jesus and her understanding of Jewish culture. Rob Bell, pastor of honesty and scything questions, gave me the impression that he knew almost everything about everything. All brutally honest communicators. All passionate authors. Just like Jesus.


Travel. I want to travel. Not just to holiday or to see the world, but to give something of myself to people. To leave an imprint of Christ with the people I meet. I've visited a few countries in the first quarter century of my life, but being young and ignorant, there were so many things that I did not take note of. I saw but I did not feel.

I've been to Israel when I was in primary school, but at that age, I was more interested in practicing my football techniques with pebbles along the roads than learning about the rich history and culture of God's chosen people. I've been to New York but being there with my parents visiting relatives seemed a little boring to me. I was too preoccupied with disguising my inferiority complex with vices. I've been to the United Kingdom, to Finland and Sweden, to France, and to Australia. To Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

How can you even attempt to change the world when you know so little about it? I think Mother Teresa best describes it when she reminded us that "Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world."

I pray for opportunities.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
| Mark Twain |


Love. This is the essence of all that I will attempt to write about. Because where Love is, God is. As you encounter these words, it is my sincere hope that you encounter God and find that He is not stuffy or boring like you believed. I pray that these words will awaken and inspire you to see the good in the Life that we have. I pray that you will experience the Love that is God.